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The Ten Percent: The Great Escape (1963)

the-great-escape-poster

Original poster for The Great Escape, 1963.

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Welcome back to “The Ten Percent,” a regular column where every other week K. Dale Koontz and I take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the small portion of everything which is not crud. So many films premiere each year, but only a very few are remembered and revered years later. That’s not a matter of genre – the Ten Percent is a big tent, with plenty of room for comedy, drama, horror, animation, musical, science fiction and many more. But admission into the tent is not easy to come by. Films in this category last because they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception.

Before I talk about why 1963’s The Great Escape belongs in the Ten Percent, it’s worth taking the time to point out the film’s flaws. First, neither bicycles nor motorcycles were used in the 1943 escape from Stalag Luft III. Second, the “Great Escape” of 76 Allied POWs took place in unseasonably cold weather during one of the worst winters seen in Eastern Poland in 30 years. Third, there were no Americans among the escapees who were mostly British and Canadian. Finally, there was never any regulation which stated that Allied prisoners were duty-bound to attempt to escape. In fact, many, perhaps most, American and British POWs were generally leery of escape attempts.

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Scene Stealers: In Memory of 2014

Robin Williams“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” – Williams Shakespeare

It seems like 2014 has already seen more than its fair share of talented entertainers leave us. I had the privilege of watching several of them create magical moments in both movies and television, and there are a few, in particular, that stand out for me.

The following list is comprised of five iconic actors who have greatly influenced my love of film and the “Scene Stealing” roles that will forever define them in my mind.

 

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